NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - Opening statements in the trial of a Fort Thomas, Ky. woman accused of murdering her husband have been delayed after lawyers for several news outlets protested rules being imposed upon coverage by Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward.
Cheryl McCafferty is on trial for the murder of her husband, Bob, in June of 2007. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Bob McCafferty died of a single gunshot over the left eye. Defense attorneys will plead self defense, claiming Cheryl suffered on going mental and physical abuse. Cheryl McCafferty told police after it happened that Bob threatened her death and the death of her children.
Just before opening statements were to begin, Judge Ward denied a motion made on behalf of WXIX-TV (FOX19), WLWT-TV and WCPO-TV asking that reporters be allowed to file updates from inside the courthouse.
Attorney Jill Meyer of the firm Frost, Brown Todd argued that the rules constituted an unconstitutional prior restraint on publication by the judge. Meyer indicated that the media consortium intends to immediately appeal the ruling to the Kentucky Court of Appeals despite a threat by Judge Ward to ban video coverage should the group object to her ruling.
Last week, Judge Ward told reporters that they could not blog or otherwise send transmissions from inside her courtroom - a relatively normal restriction and also prohibited any live transmissions of a pool camera feed. When reporters indicated they would confine their efforts to a so-called media room where the video feed was available, Judge Ward indicated that was also unacceptable.
Shortly before 10:30 a.m. Monday morning, Judge Ward ordered that the cameras be removed from her courtroom. Opening statements are now expected to begin on Tuesday.
On Friday, Cheryl McCafferty and her attorneys were in court for the final planning session. Lawyers discussed using phone calls from jail during the trial.
"It would be nice to know which ones so I can listen to them again so I can sort of make sure I've listened to the whole thing," said Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward. "I've got every nuance that I can get."
A jury of ten men and four women was seated on Wednesday. There are also two alternates.